Monday, June 07, 2004

A New Liberal Myth And Two Neat Sites

This one is long overdue. The Neighbours from Hell site.

And the other is just a wonderful blog, discovered while looking for stuff on the Ottoman Empire (like the Hackney Empire, but full of towels). A Guardian leader, drawing on the work of historian Jerry Brotton, contended that because Queen Elizabeth's spy chief Francis Walsingham had wanted the Turks to harass the Spanish in the Eastern Mediterranean prior to the 1588 Armada, that we should therefore be easy about Turkish accession to the EU today.

Queen Elizabeth I's Turkish diplomacy helped Sir Francis Drake beat the Armada by drawing some of Spain's fleet into defensive operations in the Mediterranean ... Still, if Turkey could be an ally of Good Queen Bess, the secular EU should more easily swallow its doubts 400 years on.

Two things here. One is that what happened 400 years ago shouldn't necessarily influence foreign policy today. Does the Guardian believe that if we'd been at war with the Grande Porte in 1588 we should veto accession now ?
The other is that the Guardian may not be aware of it, but Britain, along with the USA, France, Germany, Spain and one or two other countries, is currently allied to Turkey via the little-known NATO organisation. Turkey has been a member since 1952, three years after NATO was formed.

Of course what we're seeing here is a liberal myth in embryo - that the Turks rather than Drake and Effingham beat the Armada.

Britain was never allied to the Ottoman Empire (which it finally got round to destroying in 1918. In the process the Turks inflicted damage on us which included the premature death of my grandfather, seriously wounded in Palestine). Just as in today's world, we (and other European countries) were capable of accepting aid from the unlikeliest of sources if they were against our main enemy. Francis I of France (you know the guy who beat Henry VIII at wrestling at the Field Of The Cloth Of Gold. Henry was so humiliated he never forgave him) actually was allied to the Turks, seeing his main enemy as the Hapsburgs.

England's main enemy was Catholic Spain. Yet when the Turks besieged Malta, a Spanish dependency, in 1565, Elizabeth wrote "If the Turks should prevail against the Isle of Malta, it is uncertain what peril might follow to the rest of Christendom."

When the Maltese, lead by the Knights Of St John, saw off the infidels, Elizabeth's Archbishop Matthew Parker, no doubt after consultatation with his Queen, ordered prayers of Thanksgiving to be said thrice weekly for six weeks in all English Churches.

And does this sound as if the Turks were allies ?

"Forasmuch as the Isle of Malta (in old time called Melite, where S Paul arrived when he was sent to Rome) lying near unto Sicily and Italy, and being as it were the key of that part of Christendom, is presently invaded with a great Army and navy of Turks, infidels and sworn enemies of Christian religion, not only to the extreme danger and peril of those Christians that are besieged, and daily assaulted in the holds and forts of the said Island, but also of all the rest of the countries of Christendom adjoining; it is our parts, which for distance of place cannot succour them with temporal relief, to assist them with spiritual aid: that is to say, the earnest, hearty, and fervent prayer ......"

Or this ?

"Better it is for us to fall into thy hands, than into the hands of men, and especially into the hands of Turks and Infidels thy professed enemies, who now invade thine inheritance. Against thee, O Lord, have we sinned, and transgressed thy commandments: against Turks, Infidels, and other enemies of the Gospel of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, have we not offended, but only in this, that we acknowledge thee, the eternal Father, and thy only Son our Redeemer, with the Holy Ghost, the comforter, to be the only true Almighty and everliving God. For if we would deny and blaspheme thy most holy name, forsake the Gospel of thy dear Son, embrace false religion, commit horrible Idolatries, and give ourselves to all impure, wicked, and abominable life, as they do; the devil, the world, the Turk, and all other thine enemies would be at peace with us, according to the saying of thy Son Christ: If you were of the world, the world would love his own. But therefore hate they us, because we love thee: therefore persecute they us, because we acknowledge thee, God the Father, and Jesus Christ thy Son, whom thou hast sent. The Turk goeth about to set up, to extol, and to magnify that wicked monster and dammed soul Mohumet above thy dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ, whom we in heart believe, and with mouth confess, to be our only Saviour and redeemer. Wherefore awake, O Lord our God and heavenly Father, look upon us thy children, and all such Christians as now be besieged and afflicted, with thy fatherly and merciful countenance: and overthrow and destroy thine and our enemies, sanctify thy blessed name emonges us, which they blapheme, establish thy kingdom, which they labour to overthrow: suffer not thine enemies to prevail against those, that now call upon thy name, and put their trust in thee ..."

And what about this ?

First, the Turke with his sword, what landes, nations, and countreys, what empires, kingdomes, and provinces, with cities innumerable hath he wonne, not from us but from Thee! Where thy name was wont to be invocated, thy word preached, thy sacraments administered, there now reigneth barbarous Mahumet with his filthy Alcoran. The florishing churches in Asia, the learned churches of Grecia, the manifold churches in Africa, which were wont to serve thee now are gone from thee. The seven churches of Asia with their candlesticks, whom thou didest so well forewarne, are now removed. All the churches where thy diligent apostle S. Paul, thy apostle S. Peter and John, and other apostles, so laboriously travayled, preachyng and writying to plant thy Gospell, are now gone from thy Gospell. In all the kyngdome of Syria, Palestina, Arabia, Persia, in Armenia, and the empire of Cappadocia, through the whole compasse of Asia, with Egypt and with Africa also, unless among the farre Aethiopians some olde steppes of Christianity peradventure yet do remayne, either els in all Asia and Africa, thy church hath not one foot of free land, but all is turned either into infidelitie or to captivitie, whatsoever pertaineth to thee. And if Asia and Africa onely were decayed, the decay were great, but yet the defection were not universal. Now in Europa a great part also is shronke from thy Church. All Thracia with the empire of Constantinople, all Grecia, Epyrus, Illyricum, and now of late all the kyngdoms almost of Hungaria, with must of Austria, with lamentable slaughter of Christen bloud is wasted and all become Turkes.

Not exactly what you'd call a "deepening of understanding and of friendship". Can't we get rid of Rasputin and bring back Matthew Parker ? I rest my case.

But hist ! I near forgotte ! Ye otherre blogge ! Mirabilis ! A grande history blog which almost certainly knowes whether 'among the farre Aethiopians some olde steppes of Christianity peradventure yet do remayne'.

I like " is powered by Movable Type, Gregorian chant, and a very good Merlot".

Onne ye blogge-rolle mote it lie untille ye laste trumpet.

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